The recent passing of Harold Ramis has affected the movie industry in many ways. The first instinct is to lament the loss of his behind-the-camera talents. He had a legendary writing and directing career in which he created classics that defined generations, such as Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Groundhog’s Day. However, his turn in front of the camera, as scientist Egon Spangler is being felt as well. Bill Murray has been reticent to rejoin the cast for years and now that a second Ghostbuster will not appear, Ramis, the production has had tough decisions to make.
Since the 1990’s there have been numerous efforts by director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Twins), Dan Akroyd, and Ramis, to get the third film into production. There have been constant script revisions and multiple overhauls over the past few decades, which has been a source of frustration for many fans. One of the earlier story ideas became the outline for the acclaimed 2009 video game, Ghostbusters: The Game, in which the series’ stars reprised their roles, including Murray. Since Ramis’ passing there hasn’t been a public comment on how the franchise will proceed. Today Reitman opened up to Deadline about where the project has been and where it is now going:
“There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about GHOSTBUSTERS. I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both GHOSTBUSTERS.
The first (draft) was done by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and me, Harold and Dan helped them on it. It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn’t want to do another GHOSTBUSTERS and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally…well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film. We decided to start over again, and I started working with Etan Cohen, with Dan lending a helping hand. Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better. I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about. It’s a version of GHOSTBUSTERS that has the originals in a very minor role.
When I came back from Harold’s funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I’d just finished directing Draft Day, which I’m really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with Amy and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I’d been thinking about it for weeks, that I’d rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let’s find a really good director and make it with him
I’m not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically. I’m hoping we can get started by the fall, set in New York, but given the logistics and the stuff that happens, the beginning of 2015 seems more likely.”
Reitman is currently focusing on his project (read P.O.G.’s review) Draft Day and he has changed his mind on directing. Due to a “player option” clause in his contract, he has always had first dibs on directing the third installment and finishing out his trilogy. Well, it sounds like the whole project is being reapproached. It now seems the creative team is in the mindset to reboot the property, over a “pass the torch” continuation story. While there will surely be a cameo or two, this direction may be exactly what the franchise needs.
Imagine Ghostbusters in the hands of creative teams such as Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg or even The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. The new director will be able to collaborate with the remaining creators of the franchise, but yet will still be offered the opportunity to infuse the property with a modern sensibility. This could be the perfect balance and give the project the synergy that it has yet to tap into.
We will be sure to stay on top of the developments as details ooze in.